The Plague Afflicting Modern Education

The clock reads 1:02. My class full of seniors has only half its students present, and the tardy bell will ring in less than a minute. The teacher is worrying the rest of his students won’t show up.

All of the sudden, I hear a stampede. As the sound gets closer, it becomes almost deafening. Then, students burst into the classroom with only seconds to spare. These students are relieved to make it on time, but this feeling instantly turns to despair when they hear their homework is due. Centuries ago, a crippling disease called “senioritis” began to surface. It affected both mind and body with disastrous consequences.

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According to the Oxford Dictionary senioritis is: “A supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.” Symptoms include, but are not limited to: laziness, inferior grades, skipping class, and worst of all, poor hygiene. This mental disease slowly corrodes the mind, leaving seniors with only comfort food, sleep, and video games to sustain them through the year. Showing up late, or barely on time to class is a normal occurrence. When seniors do show up, they rarely have their work finished.

This pandemic has been known to strike quickly, and leave destruction in its wake. No one is safe, and the syndrome can happen on any normal day… It was raining outside. Jeremiah didn’t feel like getting out of bed, so he asked his mother, “Mama, I love you so dearly, may I please stay home and spend time with my favorite lady instead of going to school?” She smiled and thought about how good of a son he was, then replied, “Why, of course you can darling, but just this once.” It was paradise; staying home, playing video games, and scarfing down junk food. In between handfuls of Cheetos, he had an epiphany.

He knew he never wanted to go back to the suffocating prison of public education. After that day of freedom, it was a struggle to get out of bed. Jeremiah chose to skip first hour, in order to sleep in, and took a detention everyday to make up the work. When detention was over, he felt like he needed to stay up late to compensate for all the wasted time at school. Unfortunately, that meant playing video games; not doing homework. As the year progressed, his grades went from A’s and B’s to C’s and D’s.

Jeremiah stopped participating in activities, and began a downward spiral. Soon senioritis even spread to what he loved. Instead of playing basketball, Jeremiah chose to stay home. Basketball was his favorite sport, and his friends and family couldn’t believe he didn’t go out. When asked by his parents why he was doing this, he couldn’t answer. He was already elbow deep in a bag of Cheetos.

As winter went on, Jeremiah stopped caring about his appearance and didn’t feel like daily showers were necessary. His teachers gave up on him at this point, but Jeremiah didn’t care. All he wanted to do was ditch school, leave his parents’ home, and start his life. He felt the system held him back, and high school was getting in the way of his dreams. To distract himself from school Jeremiah filled his free time with Dark Souls and Call of Duty.

By spring, his grades were beyond repair, and he was very nearly failing his classes. Jeremiah’s parents were aware of this, but they didn’t believe they had the right to control his life. His friends fled when they saw him; fearing they would be cornered by his overwhelming stench. When graduation hit, Jeremiah barely passed, and felt no motivation to go to college. He knew his parents loved him and would help him get on his feet, but fifteen years later he was still living in their basement.

After I heard this story, I told myself I wouldn’t end up like that. I made a solemn vow not to let senioritis infect me and destroy my life. Then, English Composition happened. The first paper we did was a narrative essay. It was due in two weeks, and after I heard this deadline, I felt like I was drowning in my chair. When my professor told the class the criteria for the paper, my heart hammered in my chest, and my brain shut off.

I knew I needed to get my paper started immediately and not put it aside, but it was a daunting task. For days, I scoured the internet to find a subject worthy of a college paper, but nothing motivated me. Two days before the essay was due, I was up past midnight; unable to sleep with anxiety that my paper wouldn’t get done. I thought to myself that senioritis had kicked in early, and I needed a vacation. That thought jump started my brain, and I wrote my paper overnight about a past vacation. Senioritis for me wasn’t being lazy.

Instead, it was about my inability to be motivated. Unlike Jeremiah, I wasn’t lazy; I was apathetic about writing a paper. While many students faced similar issues to my own, there was also a great diversity of issues plaguing the rest of my class. One problem my friend Ethan had was boredom. He felt writing was a dull subject, and he had no inspiration. When he was at the computer, all I saw were paragraphs being typed in, and then, deleted.

He repeated this over and over until class was finished. Another student was exhausted from volleyball, and she was then expected to come home and study for Calculus, Physics, and Government. After a month of this grueling regiment, she simply burned out. All of her energy was spent doing other activities, so when the weight of English Composition was added onto her, she broke down. In the simplest of terms senioritis is viewed as laziness, but it’s not that easy. It’s actually quite convoluted because of the stressors that side track students.

Today’s generation has more pressures than any generation before. These pressures cause students to have two choices. Seniors can either overcome their obstacles, or crumble; and the stakes are high. To crumble into the category of having senioritis means almost certain social and economic obliteration. Controlling senioritis however, provides the best opportunity to conquer personal demons, and succeed in life.